Following the pandemic surge in paid subscribers for streaming services, media entrepreneur Byron Allen believes the time is right for Local Now, a streaming service that mixes “super-hyper-local” news with premium content — and offers it for free.
“Free is everybody’s favorite price,” Allen, the founder, chairman and CEO of Local Now parent company Allen Media Group, told TheWrap.
The Wrap reports the ad-supported service Local Now launched this week on a wide variety of platforms and devices after more than three years in development. The new service uses proprietary software and artificial intelligence to produce, aggregate, curate and stream local news, weather, sports, traffic, movies, TV shows and documentaries.
Allen said Local Now is essentially re-creating the experience of traditional network TV viewing and re-inventing it for a streaming generation.
“What we did here is took the way you grew up watching television — you got local news, weather, sports, traffic and premium content for free — we have now put it on the streaming platforms,” Allen said.
Although some streaming services and TV news channels provide 24-hour news coverage, Allen said they often focus on national news. “You want to hear about COVID-19 in your zip code,” he said.
Allen said the hunger for news accessible via Local Now became apparent during the beta phase testing of the service, which overlapped with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. “Our traffic went through the roof; it went straight up like a rocket,” Allen said, adding that 90% of Local Now users were streaming the Capitol invasions on the home TV screens.